SALOMON LEONARDUS VERVEER (The Hague 1813 – The Hague 1876)
A Dutch River Landscape with a Landing Stage by a Building, Circa 1841
signed S. Verveer ft. in the lower left
oil on panel
16 1/2 x 21 1/4 inches (41.8 x 54.7 cm.)
Frost & Reed Ltd, New York, 1948
Private Collection, Florida, late 1960s to early 1970s until the present time
Salomon Leonardus Verveer was one of Holland’s most important Dutch Romantic painters. Born into a Jewish family in The Hague, Salomon had two younger brothers Maurits Verveer (1817 – 1903) and Elchanon Verveer (1826 – 1900) who were also painters, although they never reached the fame of their older brother. Maurits was also one of the earliest as well as quite successful professional photographers in Holland. Verveer received his training at the Academy of Art in The Hague, followed by an apprenticeship as a studio assistant to the painter Bartholomeus Johannes van Hove. Throughout his career he worked mainly in The Hague but also traveled to Germany, Belgium and France. He specialized in townscapes, village scenes, harbor views and dune landscapes. He also painted a few notable views of the Jewish Quarter in Amsterdam. In 1836 Verveer obtained his first (silver) medal at the art society “Felix Meritis” in Amsterdam. The artist’s career rapidly advanced and by the end of the 1830s he was already a famous painter in the Netherlands. His picture An Imaginary City View Based on the Kolksluis, Amsterdam (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, inv. no. A1153) was purchased by the Dutch government during the Exhibition of Living Masters in The Hague in 1839. By the early 1840s Verveer’s fame had spread to Belgium. His paintings were regularly exhibited at the Salons of Brussels, Antwerp and Ghent. In the following decades his works were shown at exhibitions in France, Germany, Britain and the United States. During the nineteenth century wealthy collectors as well as kings, princes, nobles and ambassadors acquired his paintings, watercolors and drawings. Particularly memorable was the French Emperor Napoleon III’s purchase of Scènes de déménagement à Amsterdam at the Paris Salon of 1855 for his personal collection. Other important medals and tributes included in 1851 the Belgian Order of Leopold and in 1863 Officer of the Order of the Eikenkroon. From 1866 – 1869 Verveer served as president of the Dutch artist society Pulchri Studio in The Hague. Verveer’s last work Village of Scheveningen was sent to the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition of 1876 where it received a medal.
Among the students that Verveer taught were Jan Weissenbruch, Jan Gerard Smits and Frederik Hendrik Kaemmerer. The influences of Verveer both compositionally and stylistically are evident in the work of Charles Leickert, particularly in his city views and summer landscapes. Leickert was very prolific but ultimately not as successful as Verveer. Verveer’s works were more varied in their choice of subjects and generally better executed. Verveer died on January 5, 1876 and was buried in the Jewish cemetery along the Oude Scheveningseweg in The Hague. His friends and admirers wishing to pay him special tribute collected money for a colossal monument for his modest grave. It was a gesture fully supported by the Dutch King William III. Today Verveer’s grave remains the most impressive funerary monument in the cemetery.
Works by the artist are represented in the collections of many museums, including the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam; Teylers Museum, Haarlem; Amsterdam Historical Museum, Amsterdam; Municipal Museum, Amsterdam; Rijksmuseum Twenthe, Enschede; Jan Cunen Museum, Oss; Kröller- Müller Museum, Otterlo; Centraal Museum, Utrecht; Municipal Museum, The Hague; The Hermitage, Saint Petersburg; Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels; Museum of Fine Arts, Ghent; The Moravian Gallery Museum, Brno; and the Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester.
This panel depicts a Dutch river landscape with fisherfolk at a landing stage by a building. It is a representative composition within the oeuvre of the artist from the beginning of the 1840s and a testimony to Verveer’s preference for painting river scenes. A smaller version of this composition by an unknown contemporary hand bearing a Verveer signature (inv. no. 1955 [OK]) is in the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam.